Tour of Flanders: All the essential info for De Ronde

Everything you need to know about the men's and women's Ronde van Vlaanderen

Date: Sunday, March 31, 2024
Start: Antwerp, Belgium 
Finish: Oudenaarde, Belgium
Total distance: 270.8km (men), 163km (women)
Defending champion: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime)

The Tour of Flanders began in 1913, marking this year as the race's 108th edition as there was no race from 1915 to 1918. A race defined by its tortuous twists, turns and narrow cobbled climbs, the Tour of Flanders, or Ronde van Vlaanderen, is arguably the finest of the Classics. The route may change slightly each year, but the hellingen that pack the region and define the race are a given, guaranteed to produce worthy winners of a true Monument. In the Ronde, only the strong survive. 

Founded by a young sports journalist named Karel Van Wijnendaele and founding member of the newspaper Sportwereld, Leon den Haute, they wanted to create something which was more than just a bike race.

While there are four other Monument races – Il Lombardia, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Milan-Sanremo – which hold such prestige and history in the WorldTour calendar, there is no other race which defines a nation quite like the Tour of Flanders. Unsurprisingly, the most victories come from Belgian riders, with a total of 69 wins out of the 107 editions. The winner of the inaugural edition was Belgian rider Paul Denman who rode for Automoto-Continental. Many years later, 104 to be exact, Philippe Gilbert became the most recent home winner of De Ronde, riding solo to the finish resplendent in the Belgian national champion's jersey.

In its long history, only a handful of riders have taken the title on multiple occasions. Riders including Achiel Buysse, Fiorenzo Magni, Eric Leman, Johan Museeuw, Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara have crossed the finish line first on three occasions. King of the cobbles, Boonen and Cancellara are the only riders to have achieved the cobbled Classics double (Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix), twice, making them legendary in both these races.

Last year’s winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) will not be back to defend his title, leaving the top step of the podium clear for another winner. However, four previous winners of the race will be back this year and there is one two-time winner of this Monument who will be looking to secure a third title, and that is Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck). He looked unstoppable at E3 Saxo Classic, but was then beaten by Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) in Gent-Wevelgem a few days later. He’ll also have to face Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) and Kasper Asgreen (Soudal–Quick-Step), as well as other potential contenders like Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious), Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek), and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ).

Men’s Tour of Flanders 2024 teams: 

  • Alpecin-Deceuninck
  • Intermarché-Wanty
  • Soudal–Quick-Step
  • Visma-Lease a Bike
  • Arkéa-B&B Hotels
  • Astana Qazaqstan Team
  • Bahrain-Victorious
  • Bora-Hansgrohe 
  • Cofidis 
  • Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team
  • EF Education-EasyPost
  • Groupama-FDJ
  • Ineos Grenadiers
  • Lidl-Trek
  • Movistar
  • Team dsm-firmenich PostNL
  • Jayco Alula
  • UAE Team Emirates
  • Israel-Premier Tech 
  • Lotto Dstny
  • Uno-X Mobility 
  • Bingoal WB
  • Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team
  • Team Flanders-Baloise
  • Tudor Pro Cycling Team

Men’s Tour of Flanders 2024 route: 

The Tour of Flanders returns to Antwerp after the course last year began in Bruges, but has seen some significant changes due to concerns over safety. So, this year’s race features more major roads and a different approach to the Koppenberg climb, 45km from the finish. Nevertheless, the race still comprises 270.8km of racing and 17, mostly cobbled, climbs. 

Starting in Antwerp, the first half of the race is fairly undulating but it isn’t until they approach the midway point of the race that it starts to heat up. After 136km of racing, they will approach the iconic Oude Kwaremont for the first time. Standing at 2.2km in length, the Oude Kwaremont is the longest climb in Flanders, and while its gradient is easier on the legs compared to other climbs, there is an 11.6% punch in the middle. After the halfway mark, the route intensifies and every 10km the peloton will face another cobbled challenge, offering little chance in between to recover. The Kapelleberg, Wolvenberg, Molenberg, and Valkenberg all come in quick succession and are a chance to thin the main peloton.

With 55km remaining, the riders will take on the iconic duo – Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg – for the first time. The two climbs feature again when the riders have just 20km remaining, so this is where we expect to see some decisive moments be made. Unlike the Oude Kwaremont, the Paterberg is a short but steep climb, with an eye-watering average gradient of 12.9%.  

The Tour of Flanders this year finishes with its usual flat run-in to Oudenaarde. If no rider has managed to break away from the main peloton, here is where we see the most dramatic racing as the riders all battle it out to the line for victory. 

Tour of Flanders Women

The Tour of Flanders held its first women's edition in 2004. The route was just 94km long – making it the shortest route in the race's history. It was only in 2016 that the women's race was awarded UCI WorldTour status and has since become one of the most anticipated races in the women's calendar. Its legendary status in Belgium and notoriously tricky parcours make it a spectacle year after year.

The women's race is held on the same day as the men's and finishes one hour after the men’s on the run-in to Oudenaarde. The route takes in much of the men's route, but has a different starting point. 

Last year, Belgian rider Lotte Kopecky won for a second year running after a solo attack 20km from the finish, beating her teammate Demi Vollering by 36 seconds. This win saw Kopecky join Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel, Judith Arndt, and Annemiek van Vleuten, who have all won the race twice during their professional careers. No rider is yet to win the race for a third time, however, Kopecky will be lining up for De Ronde once again and could look to make history by becoming not only the lone female rider to have won this Monument three times, but three years consecutively.

Women's Tour of Flanders 2024 team: 

  • SD Worx-Protime
  • AG Insurance-Soudal Team
  • Canyon//SRAM Racing
  • Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
  • FDJ-Suez 
  • Fenix-Deceuninck
  • Human Powered Health
  • Lidl-Trek
  • Liv Alula Jayco
  • Movistar
  • Roland
  • Team dsm-firmenich PostNL 
  • Visma-Lease a Bike
  • UAE Team ADQ
  • Cofidis Women Team
  • Arkéa-B&B Hotels Women
  • Chevalmeire 
  • EF Education-Cannondale
  • Lifeplus Wahoo 
  • Lotto Dtsny Ladies
  • Proximus-Cyclis CT
  • Team Coop-Repsol
  • VolkerWessels Women’s Pro Cycling Team 

Women's Tour of Flanders 2024 route: 

Unlike the men’s route, the women’s race will start and end in Oudenaarde and is 100km shorter at 163km. The course still packs a punch however, with 12 climbs and seven cobbled sections included in the race’s parcours. 

The first half of the race is fairly undulating and they reach their first cobbled section pretty quickly at 9.2km, before the Lippenhovestraat and Paddestraat 40km later. The women’s peloton reach their first climb, the Wolvenberg, at 72km and then the second half of the race is littered with the punchy climbs that make this race so special. Coming thick and fast, they’ll have to conquer the Molenberg, Marlboroughstraat, Valkenberg, Kapelleberg, Koppenberg, Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg, and Oude Kruisberg, all within 80km of racing. 

Then, with less than 20km left to go, the women will take on the race's iconic duo, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. After they are up and over the Paterberg, the remaining 13km is a flat finish back into Oudenaarde.

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